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|Domainers making Millions|
Instead of Selling Domains for Profit, they Now Show Ads
I don't know how many of you have read the Business 2.0 article on Domainers. These guys get hundreds of thousands of domain names that are essentially just words or phrases that people commonly search for just by typing them into the url bar on the browser.
Some of them are selling their own in house ads, but plenty are straight up MFA sites with zero content. One site profiled in the article <snip> has serious Adsense TOS violations. They have snipped up the Adsense code to display a column of 10 Adsense ads. The guy who runs the site is standing there with his picture in Business 2.0, raking cash by abusing Adsense and taking money that should go to real content providers.
What say you ASA?
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:41 am (utc) on Jan. 5, 2006]
[edit reason] Removed specifics [/edit]
You guys are just annoyed you found people making a lot more money and a lot easier than your low grade affiliate/ banner wannabe pages.
As a user of google domain park, i was previously acheiving over 3 million uniques a month (now on around 1/2 million after few portfolio sales, )
It is all from quality traffic - mostly uk and de type ins. It is the HIGHEST QUALITY of traffic that exists.
As mentioned by other people if somsone is actually typing in "widgits.com" or "widgits.co.uk" into the browser bar they are of course interested in "widgits".
As a real example, a name i used to own, typo of cheapflights.com gave me a few hundred visitors a day. with a 70% + click rate. Are you telling me that traffic was poor quality or worthless? The people are obviously looking for cheap flights and are most likely consumers in the buying stage. It is exactly the same, if not better traffic, than those going to google and typing cheap flights into the search bar!
There will always be jelousy and anger at people who are making a lot of money. Particularly by those who frequent internet forums like this and who thought they were the cream of the crop when it comes to internet knowledge. Now you have suddenly realised you missed the boat by years and and your jelousy is evident by the ignorant comments in this thread.
|You guys are just annoyed you found people making a lot more money and a lot easier than your low grade affiliate/ banner wannabe pages. |
While I did laugh while reading this, because I often find it true that people who aren't doing so well cry foul when they read about people who are and realize they missed the boat.
However, I don't think that's the case in this thread.
I think the main gripe here is that Google doesn't tell anybody that parked domain traffic is in the Search Network, and that AdWords advertisers would probably like the ability to select that seperately, set different bids, etc., like they do with the Content Network.
I personally have seen fantastic conversion rates with the parked domains, so I'm not griping about it, but I do understand their point of view. Google does hide a lot more from the people who spend fantastic amounts of money with them than they should, IMO.
I think the main gripe here is that Google doesn't tell anybody that parked domain traffic is in the Search Network,
Not exactly. If you read the very first message, it will tell you the real feelings that initiated this thread.
Also, the thread title isn't "Google missinforming its advertisers...". The title is "they're making millions and I'm not".
Also, this is posted in Adsense, and in the case you mention that's an Adwords issue.
Common, even acusing of Adsense TOS violation ... ROFL!
And that's what dvldvl was talking about.
I could not agree more Martin, most of the negativity displayed in this thread is from those who do not realize how valuable to both the publisher and advertiser highly targeted type-in traffic is.
If you are selling bluewidgets wouldn't you prefer to display your ad on the bluewidgets dot com website instead of relying on search results which could possibly bring dubious results and may not result in a visit to a real blue widgets site?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with small sites devoted to targeting specific words and displaying applicable ads. Some relevant content is always a good idea too to enhance the value.
|....Well, stop to think about it a second. |
1: These sites are monetizing "type in" traffic. So they are not stealing money from AdSense publishers.
2: Type-in traffic is as targeted, if not more, than regular search traffic. So someone typing in widgets.com has a good chance of converting (since they are looking for widgets), than the average visitor who reaches your site for a variety of three or four word search queries.
3: Type-in traffic is desire based. People typing in domains want to see that specific domain. They are looking to find what is being offered on that domain. Type-in traffic is relevance in it's purest form.
If AdSense is about delivering targeted traffic to advertisers, then type-in traffic represents the ultimate in targeting. If you were a merchant selling Green Widgets, wouldn't you jump at the chance to monetize traffic from the GreenWidgets.com domain? Of course you would!
|If you read the very first message, it will tell you the real feelings that initiated this thread. |
The post that initiated this thread talks about MFA sites and serious TOS violations, so it's unlikely that the original poster was simply motivated by jealousy. And even if he had been motivated by jealousy, so what? One could just as easily ask what motivates you to attack the original poster's feelings. Are you trying to distract us from a discussion of the issues that the original poster raised? If so, why? (No, you don't have to answer that question, unless you really want this thread to deteriorate into a catfight.)
The post that initiated this thread talks about MFA
That's how he calls them. But he is talking about parked pages since he is even quoting an article about parked domains. MFA are about miniwebsites with pure links and stealed quotes and SERPS, seasoned with adsense ads. The parked pages are not even a MFA are just ads links, pure PPC links.
So, he seemed so unaware of the business model of parked domains, that he used a wrong term to describe them.
It was corrected and pointed in the 2nd message!
And I'm not "attacking" anybody, just clarifying points.
Are you trying to distract us from a discussion of the issues that the original poster raised?
Why don't you guys go an start a thread about the SECOND topic of this thread, in the correct forum, Adwords.
"Google missinform their advertisers"
I will totally support you on that thread, honestly.
But I won't agree in a thread that started with a whiny, jealous and missinformed complain.
Martinibuster made a good job clarifying things very early, but I think he missed to close the thread and ask to initiate another in the correct forum with correct title and initial message, for those "issues raised".
good replies guys..
the main point here for the rest of them, is DONT critisie people using google ads for domain parking on google, yahoo, or any 3rd party site..
As CLEARLY evident. domains of all kinds, receiving type ins , result in traffic or a VERY high quality..
a little note to further back up the above. Companies have always sought the big domains to get that valuable traffic -old example bank america loans.com $5 million.
more recentlty shoppingcart.com bought by biggest online shopping cart company monster cart, because of the valuable traffic.. they paying few $ a click on overture. now get incremental traffic of the same or higher quality for free (- cost of domain). works out cheaper in the long run.. (yearly domain visitors through type ins * cpc on google/overture) = 1 or 2 year roi ... VERY GOOD DEAL...
previously that domain was parked on google. showing shopping cart ads. Obviously the company paying few hundred thousand for it, didnt see the problem with parking.. why should all you little complainers?
|...why is Google indexing parked domains? |
Likely a big reason is the site they are forwarded to is listed in the serps with similar content. Combine that with the domain name itself being exactly what the searcher is looking for (with the domains keywords being parsed) and the domain matching the search term.
|...same with TYPE_IN domains..that's the beauty and arrogance of owning True type-in domains.. they dont need no stinking search engine |
As far as advertising on them.. you cant get any more targetted traffic ..that's the whole point of owning a type-in parked domain ..to send advertisers TARGETTED traffic.
That's right, no way to be more targeted. No real need to submit the domain to the SE. In fact, type-in owners often do not even bother to do a SE submission, or do much in the way of SEO work. They often do not check their rankings or care about things like PR (Google Page Rank).
A small 2-page site which matches the bluewidgets product search term exactly (bluewidgets.com-with 100% relevant bluewidget content) is technically more targeted than a big 1,000 page site with a non-targeted domain name. Example is widgetinformation.com-which 1,000 page site has less than 100% targeted content toward bluewidgets, as a large site may also have information on pink, red and brown widgets too.
If you want to actually sell your blue widgets I bet you would prefer to place your advertising on bluewidgets.com instead of widgetinformation.com, right?
Hello all. I started this thread, and more than anything else I wanted to raise a flag on this issue. I know it's not necessarily a new issue, but I think it's a ripe one.
I was completely unaware of Google's parked domain program. Thanks to this forum I became aware, and isn't that what WW is for? After reading the B2.0 article, I looked at the code on the pages that were profiled, it appeared to me to be spliced up Adsense code in violation of the TOS. I thought these Domainers were flaunting techniques in the faces of everone else that were blatantly abusing Adsense, so I wanted to bring attention to it. Obviously I was wrong about that.
So Google has a program for monetising parked domains. Fair enough, they can do what they want and perhaps it's not so bad. However, I do think that this program has some hidden effects that do nothing more than hinder the usability of the web.
1) For better or worse, parked domains have very different click throughs and conversions than ads on content sites. I'm sure many advertisers are completely unaware that their advertising is being placed on parked domains with no content. Whether or not Google has mentioned this, one thing they have failed to do is make it abundantly clear and apparent to Adwords participants. This is more of an Adwords issue than a web issue; but why not let content domains and parked domains each stand on their own merit and clearly delineate between them?
2) For type-in traffic, parked domain advertising helps people find what they want. I don't argue against this and I never whined about it. However, when parked domains appear in SERPs... All they do is add a paying click between the user and a site that was possibly displaced in the SERPs by a parked domain.
3) Parked domains in SERPs are Spam pure and simple; and these pages can be found in SERPs. They are supplanting the basic function that the search engine should provide, but instead push the content an extra click away for the sole purpose of collecting a fee. I would like to see someone argue how this increases SERP quality.
5) Google is creating future problems for itself. By nurturing the parked domain industry, Google will be fighting all the domainers using other ad programs (not Google's). There are plenty of domainer's getting parked domains carrying nothing but adverrtising into the SERPs. Why does Google continue to promote this. I think it's buying long term problems for a quick buck now.
I'm sure many of you will disagree with my points, but that's what's on my mind at the moment. The mods renamed the subtitle of this thread. I originally thought more of these sites were MFAs in violation of the TOS and not a seperate program. Thanks for learnin' me different.
I owned a couple of sites that expired a few years ago. I neglected to renew and they were taken over by these domain parkers. They don't even use them for any content except running these ads.
These companies won't even sell the domains either because they are making so much money from them.
Wow! - can we move this to ad words forum with the title suggested? Nice info for advertisers.
Only manufacturer's websites should appear in the SERPs.
All manufacturers should see search engines as disintermediation engines, the manufacturer's surgical tool for cutting out all the useless, SERPs cluttering middlemen.
Manufacturers should demand that only the manufacturer's websites appear in the SERPs.
Search, of course, should remain free. SE's could reduce their costs by cutting out all the useless middlemen from the SERPs. SERPs should represent only direct from the manufacturer product information and sales all the time. Middlemen are just adding another layer of cost to the product and should be banned.
Consumer's should insist on the useless, cost adding, extra click adding middlemen getting removed from the SERPs. Middlemen just add cost. Consumer's should demand that all manufacturer's sell direct to the public.
Search engines should be the end of middlemen: No more wholesalers, no more distributors, no more resellers, no more retailers. All manufacturer's websites in the SERPs all the time.
Okay, next: Only cruiseship line's and airline's websites should appear in the SERPs. No more travel agencies, no more ticket brokers or resellers. No more review sites. No more consolidators.
Okay, next . . .
It all makes sense to me, from a certain point of view.
|parked domains have very different click throughs and conversions than ads on content sites |
I wonder who knows better: Google or anyone who posts here? I suspect Google prices the service accordingly and as many have said, it comes down to a company's ROI.
Oh, darn! You know what? My payment rate for my domains is depressed because my great domains are considered amidst all the other crummy domains.
What would be nice would be increasingly granular tools. Frankly, I don't want the excellent conversion rates of my domains mucked up by the lower conversion rates of Joe Blow's domains.
You see, we are all in this together.
|when parked domains appear in SERPs... All they do is add a paying click between the user and a site that was possibly displaced in the SERPs by a parked domain. |
See comment about about manufacturers.
We could add to your list affiliate sites, MFA sites, scraper sites, pseudo-review sites, review aggregation sites, opinion/blog sites that offer opinions without substance, Ebay links, Amazon links, media sites that produce news because news is just a medium for making money (No ad revenue, no news or magazine, ya get that?), and so on.
|Parked domains in SERPs are Spam pure and simple; and these pages can be found in SERPs. |
See comments about manufacturers and "all those other websites". One man's spam is another man's marketing. Et tu Brutus?
|Why does the code on parked domains appear as html |
Because they can? Because everyone loves free traffic/advertising/promotion? You too?
|Google is creating future problems for itself. By nurturing the parked domain industry, |
See manufacturer post.
Actually, Google sees direct navigation for what it is: Diversification of revenue streams.
Also, Google might think it better to have direct navigation "within the fold" than to have a collection of well named websites that - more fully developed - could become the new and improved search resource, draining traffic from Google.
OTOH, who's to say that a Travel Search Engine might not arise that will kill off Google's travel related search traffic or seriously impair it?
Those are just a few alternative explanations for "Why does Google do this?". There's plenty more - explanations - where these few came from.
I suggest that you back away from the keyboard, clear your mental cache and spend a few days just contemplating the future of how people will find things. It may not be "all Google's search page, all the time", despite outward appearances to the contrary (at least in your way of looking).
Then, plan your business strategy accordingly.
I would suggest that those plans include acquiring a few of those direct navigation domains that relate to your business interests.
At the very least consider the act of picking up a few domains like the act of buying an insurance policy: You hope you never need it but just in case . . .
|...parked domains have very different click throughs and conversions than ads on content sites |
That is not necessarily correct. In fact, the opposite can easily happen.
I know of numerous examples where a parked domain is forwarded to a small low-content site, or to a PPC search or advertising page (even with little or no content) but enjoys very high CTR's.
The CTR depends more on: A. How a good a job the web designer did on the overall page layout. B. Ad positioning. C. How well targeted and relevant the ads are. D. How good is the quality and targeting of the visitors, with a good CTR often received from type-ins (who by definition are quality visitors).
Does the domainpark program have smartpricing, like the adsense program?
I really hope so, since I get VERY poor quality clicks from oingo, etc, for certain topics and geographies...
And I still seem to pay 0.01 GBP for the most obvious rubbish click, whereas at 0.001 GBP or less the traffic *might* be OK.
It's a real problem when chosing the Content or Search networks because some of the extremely dubious domain parks seem to be in each, but plain Search does not get enough volume.
I'd really like a "no domain parks" flag.
|I'd really like a "no domain parks" flag. |
If there isn't one, or at least an exclusion filter that covers them, then I'll be aborting my trial AdWords campaign, since I have ethical qualms about contributing to the existence of spam web pages within nothing except ads on them.
I certainly wouldn't want my ads appearing in spammed email newsletters, and zero-content web pages are only a step up from that.
You should see the next version of this... SOme Big hosting companies have spent a lot of money developing a system that will auto categorize domain names, then do things like pull RSS feeds and scapped content and stuff it on parked domains. Some of these companies have hired over 50 SEO's each... These parked domains will basically become "Real sites" and SEO'd to rank super high in organic search results. When this hits in a couple months all hell will break loose.
Let's think about this for a second. Did Google come from nowhere to mega-huge global concern worth $$$$ billions in a couple of years by being utterly moralistic? No brainer really. I'm not saying they are any worse than any other corporation here.
So is domain parking a service to web users, a Google scam, or a Google scam dressed up as a service to web users?
I go with the last option.
Bottom line is that all Google services / features / algorythms are geared in the main to making money for Google, but vaguely have some specific function.
I personally am not too bothered by the domain park program. Yes, it's clearly intended to make $$ dressed up as a feature, but it pales into insignificance when you look at the huge scam called smartpricing.
Yes, we can all read the Google blurb on what it does, and what the benefits are supposed to be. OK, it probably does perform some of the functions Google claim that it does to an extent, but it's main purpose is to make Google $$$$$$. I have no idea why anyone pretends otherwise.
Publishers don't like it, and many advertisers see no benefit from it either. I certainly don't as an advertiser, therefore I have opted out of content.
Whilst having a rant, if you email Google to let them know about sites that have "Click on the google ads" or that blatantly breach the TOS (no content and back button disabled) they WILL NOT discipline the publishers. What sort of signal does that send out?
OK - rant over.
Basically, the above is part of being in Adsense, and you have to either accept it or leave. I choose to accept it, but that doesn't meant to say I agree to not have the odd whine about it :)
The thing I don't understand of this thread is Why Google?
Why bashing Google for this?
Google is not the only company supporting the domain parking business, there are a lot more.
If Google didn't take that part of this market someone else would do it for sure. This "disgusting" business model would still exists, with or without Google.
|I personally am not too bothered by the domain park program. Yes, it's clearly intended to make $$ dressed up as a feature, but it pales into insignificance when you look at the huge scam called smartpricing. |
David, I know you don't like smart pricing, but calling it a "scam" smacks of libel, and what does it have to do with the DomainPark program?
|OK, it probably does perform some of the functions Google claim that it does to an extent, but it's main purpose is to make Google $$$$$$. I have no idea why anyone pretends otherwise. |
Its main purpose is to make money for Google by tying price to value for advertisers. You may not agree with the way it's calculated or with its effect on your revenue, but that doesn't make it a "scam."
Markus007's comments about machine-generated sites for use on parked domains just goes to show why smart pricing is both necessary and useful. If those apparently "real" sites get into the SERPs and send significant quantities of non-converting clicks to advertisers, smart pricing will help to protect advertisers' budgets from being sucked up by opportunists. Without it, advertisers would be victims.
Speak for yourself. Some of us believe that smart pricing is a necessity.
|and many advertisers see no benefit from it either. I certainly don't as an advertiser, therefore I have opted out of content. |
So you're saying that, if Google got rid of smart pricing, you would buy content ads? In other words, you think it's unfair to advertisers if Google doesn't charge full price for all clicks from any source? Have you shared this philosophy on the AdWords forum? :-)
|David, I know you don't like smart pricing |
I really have no idea how you deduced this :)
|but calling it a "scam" smacks of libel, and what does it have to do with the DomainPark program? |
OK - maybe there should be a law (or algorythm) to stop me posting before I've had my second wake-up coffee in the morning.
The only relevance to domain park is to illustrate that in all probability Google make more money out of smart pricing than they do domain park, yet people happily accept smartpricing.
|Its main purpose is to make money for Google by tying price to value for advertisers. You may not agree with the way it's calculated or with its effect on your revenue, but that doesn't make it a "scam." |
Scam is probably the wrong word - I accept that. My point is that as a publisher, I have yet to see any evidence it lives up to the claims Google makes for it. I accept that the idea is to attract advertisers into content area, but I think the hype is much greater than the reality. I'm not alone - many advertisers fail to see any benefit. I think most just believe they are getting a discount from Google, or just don't bother to look too deeply provided they can justify adwords as a cost effective method of advertising. Even with click fraud adwords is probably a more cost effective method of advertising for many businesses than other methods.
|Markus007's comments about machine-generated sites for use on parked domains just goes to show why smart pricing is both necessary and useful. If those apparently "real" sites get into the SERPs and send significant quantities of non-converting clicks to advertisers, smart pricing will help to protect advertisers' budgets from being sucked up by opportunists. Without it, advertisers would be victims. |
Do we know that smart pricing reduces the cost of clicks to advertisers on domain park sites? Your past posting and explanations of smart pricing have always suggested that smartpricing only applies to content - not search. If an advertiser opts out of content does that mean they don't get any discount if their ad is on a domain park site? I think the option to not advertise on domain park is a good suggestion.
|Publishers don't like it |
|Speak for yourself. Some of us believe that smart pricing is a necessity. |
I'm not alone in holding this view. I believe smart pricing would be easier for most to like if it actually delivered substantial discounts to advertisers. Publishers are never going to like their clicks being discounted (get over it - sh!t happens). My problem with it is not so much the fact that my clicks are discounted, but that only a very small part of the discount is passed back to the advertisers.
|and many advertisers see no benefit from it either. I certainly don't as an advertiser, therefore I have opted out of content. |
|So you're saying that, if Google got rid of smart pricing, you would buy content ads? In other words, you think it's unfair to advertisers if Google doesn't charge full price for all clicks from any source? Have you shared this philosophy on the AdWords forum? :-) |
Part of not having had enough coffee syndrome. I'm using adwords to get visitors to my site - especially when major additions have happened. I'm not trying to pass them through to other advertisers, but that will inevitably happen to an extent. I do dabble in content occasionally, but not for a while. I didn't opt out of content because of smartpricing directly, although that is part of it. I opted out of content mainly because content doesn't work well for me because my site is higher in the serps than most of the content sites my ads show on. The fact that I have never seen a difference between content clicks and search clicks was the final nail in the coffin.
As to if I'd opt back in of they dropped smart pricing - Google aren't going to dump it, so I never consider that as a scenario. If I had seen any form of smartpricing discount in the past, then I might be prepared to opt into content more often.
|I'm not alone in holding this view. I believe smart pricing would be easier for most to like if it actually delivered substantial discounts to advertisers. |
If it's any consolation, you are not alone :-).
Here's a thought I've expressed before: If smartpricing isn't a way of ramping up profitability to meet market expectations/quarterly income reports/some other goal, there's a simple solution: Announce that the % payout will remain a constant from month to month. That'll give Google a huge PR coup, gain a lot of goodwill from the webmaster community... and not cost a penny!
Even better if there's some transparency and advertisers can see the smartpricing adjustments clearly ;)
|Its main purpose is to make money for Google by tying price to value for advertisers. |
Sorry, but that's the main stated purpose. That you believe it to be true doesn't make it gospel truth. If the main purpose was as an advertiser placebo disclosing that fact to the public would defeat the purpose of SP's existence.
After having read the thread, and also the article, it seems domainers have hit upon a gold reef here.
The only problem is, it looks like it is built on shaky ground. Sure it is great while people type in domain names instead of doing an internet search - at the moment it's probably a better way to find some things considering the state of the SERPs on some subjects - however as search engines get better people will realise that these domain park pages are rubbish. As a lot of MFAs are now using PPC as well to get traffic there can be 2 or 3 clicks from a type-in to actual useful information.
After reading the article I got the impression these guys were sharks, reminds me a lot of the spivs who were involved in domain squatting before it was made illegal. Especially at the end of the article where Yahoo wasn't even prepared to offer a little 'hospitality' to someone who 'generated more than 1 percent of Yahoo's $3.6 billion in revenues'. From my experience in business, if I am generating one of my suppliers 36 million bucks in revenue in a year they would be more than happy to put on dancing girls for me even if it is a bit embarrassing when they get back to the office. Does it sound a bit strange to anyone else that Yahoo is embarrassed about these guys?
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